Tech toys for big kids
3M Streaming Projector
The 3M Streaming Projector isn't without its faults, especially its limited battery life (a little over 1.5 hours), brightness, and DVD-like resolution. But that's not enough to detract from what's ultimately a delightful gadget, not to mention an exciting new product type from 3M and Roku.
Lytro Light Field Camera
f you're a gadget-loving early adopter with deep pockets who really likes to compose photos and be creatively different, the Lytro Light Field Camera might be your dream device.
Hasbro Lazer Tag
Hasbro's new version of Lazer Tag is a mixed bag. It's undeniably fun and surprisingly interesting, but the pieces don't all come together clearly or smoothly...at least, not yet. As long as you're not hoping for competition-grade Lazer Tag and can put up with some bugs, it's worth it for the novelty.
The $99.95 Fitbit Ultra offers the same great features and engaging back-end analytical tools that the original model did, and it's a fun, well-designed fitness gadget for easy wear and use.
Fitbit Aria Wi-Fi Smart Scale
If you can afford to splurge on a $129.99 scale and have already invested in Fitbit's ecosystem, the Aria is a worthwhile addition. It's better-looking, easier to install than the competition's, and just as accurate.
Ion Audio iCade
The iCade is a fantastically eye-catching conversation starter, and very fun to use once you find a handful of Atari games that work for you. For vintage gaming enthusiasts, it may be an expensive novelty, but a very worthwhile one.
iCade 8-Bitty Retro Wireless Game Controller
The 8-Bitty is a cute stocking-stuffer, a clever novelty gift, and, depending on your usage, a functional retro-gaming accessory for your iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch. It's less expensive than an iCade, and more flexible.
The Sphero is a high-tech robotic toy ball that you can control with your iOS or Android smartphone. Debuted at CES 2011, the device lets you steer the ball, and it makes a great holiday gift for the cat that has it all.
The point of the Rasberry Pi motherboard is primarily education, with the intent to create an affordable computer that breaks away from the technical hand-holding that comes with cookie-cutter PCs. Try it, who knows? You may learn something, and it's only $35. What do you have to lose?
The new Furby is newly revamped, more robotic, and studded with motors and sensors than its 1998 counterpart. It's also considerably more crazy-eyed: twin brightly-lit LED screens with mechanical eyelids animate with a variety of expressions and even quirky pictograms. Can it compete in a world of robots, apps, and video games? Well, I can at least say this: it's charming.
MakerBot Replicator 3D printer
The MakerBot Replicator is the best 3D printer available for under $2,000. It's not a toy, but rather a challenging, thrilling creation platform. If you have the time to invest in learning how to use it, you will surely be rewarded.